President Trump has been live-tweeting his response to the devastating hurricane in Texas, as he prepares to visit the state to view the disaster zone Tuesday. It’s the first natural disaster of the Trump presidency, and thus far he has avoided any significant missteps. Trump has left the management of the response to state and local officials and to federal professional officials whose messages he’s echoed. The president has been largely invisible beside from Twitter, with Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert taking the lead on speaking for the Administration. Trump will change that later Monday when he holds a joint press conference with the President of Finland.
As the hurricane barreled toward Texas Friday, Trump sought to bury a host of controversial decisions. On Friday afternoon, Trump formally sent the Pentagon guidance on his plan to ban transgender service members from the military—though the full scope of the announcement, which he first previewed on Twitter last month, is still not clear. Trump also parted ways with Seb Gorka, the cable television fixture and self-proclaimed “irregular warfare” expert who had little formal role in the White House. A former Breitbart employee, he is returning to the Steve Bannon-run site and firing back at Trump’s more conventional advisors who remain in the West Wing. And Trump pardoned convicted former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in a decision that was condemned by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain. Trump had teased the action at a Phoenix rally earlier in the week. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court in a long-running civil rights lawsuit over his alleged discriminatory tactics from his time as sheriff.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have each taken steps to distance themselves from Trump’s rhetoric in recent days. Tillerson’s shocking assertion Sunday that Trump doesn’t speak to American values highlights the growing gulf between the president and his top aides, to say nothing of the country at large.
Trump’s abandoned Moscow deal. Trump approves military gear for local police. And more lawsuits for Trump.
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